After 30 continuous years of car ownership, I am slowly getting used to the pleasures of public transport – and Hong Kong’s public transport system is exceptionally good. However, no matter how good the system is, it can’t cater for the inept user! So, at the end of a running trail I’d not used before (that’s China in the background, across the water) I casually hopped on a bus expecting to be home in less than 10 minutes……about an hour later I eventually arrived, having visited parts of Hong Kong I never thought I’d see!
As we approach the end of 2012 and with my self-imposed challenge to take a photo a day almost complete, here is a photographic summary of what has been a very eventful year.
The options for communicating these days are incomparable to only a few years ago. FaceTime, SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, email and in this case Skype are all (relatively) easy and cheap means of communicating with somebody who is not within earshot and we use them all. Just a few years ago a phone – mobile or fixed – would have been the only option and that would have amounted to an expensive luxury. Try to explain to the kids that, when we first went overseas to live some 23 years ago, the only option was a weekly, handwritten, airmail letter; the response is utter incomprehension!
Regardless of all these advances though, communicating means having somebody at the other end to answer – and even in this modern age, that can still be the frustrating part!
It feels as if it has been unremittingly dull, grey and windy for a long time now, so it was uplifting this morning to look out of the window onto a scene of bright, blue, calmness. I keep being told this is what it should be like for the majority of the time in November and December – I’ll believe it when I see it more often!
It was late afternoon before I managed to get out to go for a run. There was a particular route I wanted to run and, as I was not sure if I would complete it before sunset, I took my head-torch with me. As the light was so dull and the limited views were not all that inspiring either, I decided to play around with camera settings, running speeds and backgrounds and see what sort of interesting images I could produce utilising the head-torch light. I think there’s scope here – with a lot more trial and error – for producing a lot better, but here’s 2 of the more interesting images from this attempt:
Back to some gentle study today. Here’s a view of the route from Hong Kong to Sydney, spread across 5 charts and laid out on the floor of the living room. Traditional methods of navigation; paper charts, rulers, dividers and manuals, sit comfortably alongside the shape of the future; iPad applications. It all helps to create a minds’ eye view of the big picture and to develop better ideas of how to cope with the tricky ‘what if?’ questions.
In the almost certain knowledge that I’m going to over-indulge later in the day, a testing of the new Christmas present (the green adventure racing/trail running backpack) to put myself into a temporary calorie deficit on a 1hr 15min run, is a small salve to my conscience. I’m sure the extra mince pie, or glass of wine, is going to taste so much better for it!
The Monsoon Wind is blowing in Hong Kong at the moment and it was just 11 degrees celsius first thing this morning – making it feel very chilly. However, as I had a day off and it was a Sunday (almost the only ‘practical’ and ‘survivable’ cycling day of the week out here), I decided to make the most of the emptier roads. Now, if you were to ask ‘what type of wind is a Hong Kong Monsoon Wind?’ – I am now in a position to be able to tell you, with 100% certainty, that it is a HEADWIND! This does not help when the fitness levels have taken such a huge hit recently, but when the mind still remembers what you were able to do just a few months ago. ‘Winded’ is a doubly apt title for this post! My legs are going to be reminding me of my error in this regard over the next few days, I’m sure. Anyway, the ride was a successful, exploratory one during which I found my way onto ‘Route Twisk’ – Hong Kong’s longest, steepest, highest and twistiest road. There’s a bit more training to do before I tackle the full length of it in earnest, but it looks good.
The photo is a 4-image panorama, taken from the promenade in Tsuen Wan – the town at the foot of the climb – looking west across the bay towards the Ting Kau Bridge in the background.